Monday, July 15, 2024

Not long after Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady, died on Sunday, politicians from both sides of the aisle commended her work in that public role and the strides she made for women’s rights, mental health, and many other causes.

The Carter Center in Atlanta announced her death, calling her “a passionate champion of mental health, caregiving, and women’s rights.” The center disclosed in May that Mrs. Carter had dementia and on Friday that she had entered hospice care at home.

Like many first ladies, Mrs. Carter used her prominent position to champion a cause: the treatment of mental illness. She was named honorary chairwoman of the Carter administration’s mental health commission, and she led the White House Conference on Aging, which started in 1977. She held nationwide hearings on both topics, testified before Congress and pressed for legislation to support mental health centers and to offer insurance coverage for the care of mental illness.

Her work to raise awareness in these areas was remembered with appreciation by many who commented on her legacy.

Former President George W. Bush and the former first lady, Laura Bush, described Mrs. Carter as a woman of “dignity and strength,”
in a social media post via the George W. Bush Presidential Center, and they praised the work she did to destigmatize mental health.

At a “Friendsgiving”
event with troops and their relatives in Virginia, the first lady, Jill Biden, noted the work that Mrs. Carter had done for “mental health and caregiving and women’s rights.” President Biden
posted on X that Mrs. Carter had “walked her own path, inspiring a nation and the world along the way.”

The former first lady Michelle Obama recalled the support that Mrs. Carter had offered her when she first assumed the role.

“When our family was in the White House, every so often, Rosalynn would join me for lunch, offering a few words of advice and always — always — a helping hand,” she said in a statement. “She reminded me to make the role of first lady my own, just like she did. I’ll always remain grateful for her support and her generosity.”

Former President Donald Trump posted on the social media site Truth Social that Mrs. Carter had attained the respect of the entire country.

“Over a life spanning nearly a century, Rosalynn Carter earned the admiration and gratitude of our entire nation,” he said.

The former first lady Melania Trump said Mrs. Carter “leaves behind a meaningful legacy not only as First Lady but as a wife and mother.”

In a joint statement, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “Rosalynn will be forever remembered as the embodiment of a life lived with purpose.”

Other political notables who paid tribute to Mrs. Carter included Vice President
Kamala Harris; Representative Nancy Pelosi, the former speaker of the House; Senator
Bernie Sanders; Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York; and Gov. Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania.

Praise for Mrs. Carter extended well beyond the political arena.

Habitat for Humanity honored her contributions in a post on X: “She was a compassionate and committed champion of #HabitatforHumanity and worked fiercely to help families around the world.”

The Smithsonian posted on X a 1978 photo from its archives of her visiting the National Museum of American History.

Lynda Carter, best known for starring in a live-action television series as Wonder Woman, called Mrs. Carter a “champion of the American people.”

“To be the First Lady is an unenviable task, but Rosalynn Carter handled it with strength and grace,”
she wrote in a post on X.

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